The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
: Nintendo EAD
: Nintendo Wii, GameCube
: November 19, 2006
Link’s first adventure on the Nintendo Wii is a dark and haunting tale. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess takes the series to an all new dimension. Join Link in his latest console adventure to save Hyrule Kingdom once again.
Link is a peaceful farm boy, tending to the needs of his hometown called Ordon Village. Like his predecessor’s origins, this Link lives a tranquil life, but is soon to discover what destiny has in store for him. Rusl, the village’s blacksmith has been given a royal invitation to Hyrule castle. Rusl plans to bestow a gift to Princess Zelda in appreciation for the invitation, a sword crafted by fine working hands. Rusl decides he won’t be going alone and asks Link to accompany him on the trip to the castle. Link hurries off to prepare for the journey.
Little does Link know, a great darkness has been stretching over Hyrule, and it’s made its way to the forest surrounding the Ordon village. Link meets up with a close friend at the spring just outside the village’s border for a few parting words. As he begins to make his way out of the village they are attacked by a group of bokoblins. Link’s friends are abducted in the ensuing attack and Link is given no choice but to pursue them. Link eventually comes to the edge of the forest, but something is drastically different about it. Before Link stands an intimidating wall of bronze light. As he gets closer to this wall, Link is suddenly grabbed by an enormous hand from the other side. In the atmosphere of this alternate realm, Link suddenly takes the shape of a wolf, but as he is lost in the confusion he is captured and taken to a prison cell.
Alone, Link, in his wolf form, tries to break free from his bonds, but he isn’t alone. A strange little creature named Midna decides to help him out, but only if Link helps her in return. The newly formed duo breaks out of the dungeon and proceed to move higher and higher within a tower. Once outside, Midna asks if Link recognizes their location. It turns out that he was imprisoned in the dungeons of Hyrule castle. They continue until they come upon an open window in a tall tower. Inside they meet Princess Zelda, who Midna teases, calling her the “Twilight Princess.” After some discussion with Zelda, it turns out that Hyrule castle and the surrounding provinces are slowly being taken over by the Twilight Realm, a world opposite that of Hyrule Kingdom. Zelda goes on to share that the king of the Twilight, Zant, has stolen the light from the divine guardians of Hyrule, the Light Spirits. Link has been referred to as the Chosen One who will restore stability to light and shadow. Though one world can’t exist without the other, the two worlds coexisting at the same time can’t possibly work. Someone is behind this devious plot, and they have answering to do. Link and Midna take the journey together to learn the truth, along with a few surprises along the way.
Though one of the first games at the launch of the Wii, you can’t help but wonder what the true extent of the Wii’s potential really is. This is because Twilight Princess also serves as one of the Gamecube’s final games. The two formats of the game, though having a difference in gameplay layouts, look identical. That isn’t to say the game looks disappointing though, far from it in fact.
To accompany a dark tale in the Zelda series comes an equally dark and shadowed graphical presentation. It’s to be appreciated that story telling and visuals go hand in hand. Hyrule is being slowly consumed by twilight, which looks great during these sequences of the game. Each time twilight is removed from Hyrule, you can see the beautiful environments that lay hidden behind the twilight’s veil, such as the beautiful forest and temple ruins that were hidden within them. One area I enjoyed looking at the most was Zora’s domain, with a huge waterfall that can be fully explored, accompanied by rippling waters that beg to be swan dived.
Link’s sound effects have been updated for Twilight Princess, but there are still echoes of the effects that were first introduced in Ocarina of Time. Don’t expect voice work to appear in the game though, as the traditional Zelda formula of using muted voices with the inclusion of text boxes is still retained. It isn’t bothersome at all; we’ve grown adapted to the fact that Link is a silent hero, as well as supporting characters of the game. It’s all a part of what makes the game a Zelda game.
Music has become a staple in the Zelda series, and Twilight Princess features memorable compositions by the great, Koji Kondo once again. Though not fully orchestrated pieces, you’ll still find yourself humming the tune that plays as you adventure through Hyrule field. Fan favorites such as the Zelda theme returns, along with a few Ocarina of Time remakes, all of which are worth stopping as listening to when they begin to play.
Firstly, the Twilight Princes version of Hyrule Kingdom is greatly vast than other Zelda games before it. I like Zelda games to explore, and there’s so much to see and look for in Twilight Princess. The Wii version of the software will show you that Link is fighting right-handed (Link is normally left handed), which means that the Wii version is a mirror version of the GameCube software, or vice versa, depending on how you look at it.
The Wii remote is used as your sword, moving it from side to side will allow Link to hack and slash at his enemies, while thrusting the Wii remote towards the screen will make Link stab. It’s a fresh perspective on modern Zelda gameplay and wasn’t difficult to control. You can assign various items to the Wii remote’s cross pad for quickly equipping an item or weapon. These include bombs, bow and arrow, boomerang, along with brand new items such as the ball and chain, and spinner. You can open the item menu to adjust your equipment by pressing the “-“ button. The Wii remote will also play sound effects when you battle with an enemy such as the “clang” effect of the sword. Pressing the “1” button brings up the map. Pressing “2” can toggle your mini map on and off. Pressing the “+” button will bring up your gear menu, where you can view your pieces of heart, change tunics, change swords, view letters, and more. The nunchuk serves as Link’s method of movement. Pressing “Z” can let Link lock onto his enemy and strafe around them. “C” allows the camera to shift into a first-person mode to view your surroundings. When used in conjunction with the Wii remote, the nunchuk can be used to aim with the bow, select targets for the boomerang, and much more. Shaking the nunchuk will allow Link to perform a spin attack.
Link’s primary objective is to restore light to Hyrule, so while in wolf form, he’ll have to track down the tears of light to revive the Light Spirits. Reviving the Light Spirits will purify a partial area of Hyrule. Until all spirits are found, Hyrule will be cast in darkness. While in the Twilight Realm, Link will stay in wolf form. Using the Wii remote and nunchuk, Link can bite and tackle his enemies. With Midna riding on his back, she can help him in combat as well as provide a warp option for faster travel through Hyrule Kingdom.
While in human form, Link is tasked with finding pieces of the Fused Shadow, and eventually the shards of the Mirror of Twilight. This is where traditional Zelda gameplay comes into effect. Link will venture through a variety of dungeons and temples, defeating the bosses that lurk within to obtain what he seeks. Some temples can’t be reached without a specific item, which must be sought out, so it encourages you to do some exploring. If you get lost, you can always turn to Midna for a hint.
Twilight Princess, like all Zelda games before it, is perfect for people who need something to complete 100%. There’s much to look forward to after the game is complete. There are dozens of pieces of heart to obtain, and some of them require you to do a side quest to get it. Some are cleverly hidden, so it’s best to keep an eye out. As I mentioned before, Hyrule has practically tripled in size, so there’s a lot of ground to cover in the game.
The Gerudo desert features what is called the Cave of Ordeals. The cave is an ongoing survival mode that pits Link on a series of battles with enemies that gets progressively harder and harder. There are no recovery hearts to be had, so Link is as covered as the amount of heart pieces you’ve managed to find. There’s an award waiting to be claimed if you manage to lead Link to the very end of the challenge.
In some parts of Hyrule will be a gold wolf that Link can approach, but the only way to do so is to summon it by taking wolf form and howling a song next to a howling stone. Howling stones give off a distinct sound when you’re close. As a wolf, Link must play (howl) a song flawlessly to show the location of the golden wolf. Approaching it in human form will transport Link to an area between realities. In this dream like state, Link can receive a new move from an ancient warrior. There are numerous hidden moves to learn, and they’re worth seeking out.
A bonus side mission allows Link to obtain an impressive set of armor that relies on magic. Though the path to receiving it is a challenging one, it still makes for a great collector’s item in the game.
Twilight Princess has got to be among my favorite Legend of Zelda games to date. The story and gameplay kept me enticed from beginning to end. Link does not set off on this adventure alone, but is joined by his partner, Midna as well. Hr mysterious past is revealed during the game, so she’s a character who will definitely hold your interest. No Zelda fan, or Wii owner, should be left without it and I recommend that you pick up Twilight Princess if you haven’t yet.